Pacific Islands Forum: Nauru President indicates $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived next year

Pacific Islands Forum: Nauru President indicates $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived next year

Pacific Islands Forum: Nauru President indicates $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived next year

Updated 4 September 2017, 22:50 AEST

Nauru’s President Baron Waqa indicates an $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived when his country hosts the Pacific Islands Forum next year.

Nauru President Baron Waqa has indicated an $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived when his country hosts the Pacific Islands Forum next year.

At this year's Forum, held in Samoa's capital Apia, Mr Waqa was asked if journalists would be allowed into Nauru next year when it hosts the annual event.

Currently, journalists have to pay a non-refundable $8,000 application fee for a visa to enter Nauru.

"Very tricky question, very, very tricky question," Mr Waqa said.

"But let me assure you that we are working with [the Pacific Islands Forum] to make sure that you all get there."

Only two Australian journalists have been allowed into Nauru in recent years.

The application fee has been criticised as an effort to prevent journalists reporting on the Australian Government's policy of offshore detention for asylum seekers and refugees.

Pacific leaders at this year's Forum will attempt to form a collective voice on such varied topics as climate change, illegal fishing and labour mobility.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is due to arrive in Apia later this week ahead of the main event, the leaders' retreat, on Friday.

This year's gathering comes as the Australian Government pledges to renew its engagement with the region.

Last month in Suva, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told her regional counterparts the Australian Government was focused on three goals in the Pacific.

"We seek stronger partnerships for economic growth; we seek stronger partnerships for our security; and we seek to support relationships between our people," she said.

Pacific leaders will be looking to see how Mr Turnbull builds on the stated commitment to a renewed engagement with the Pacific.